Through the season’s first nine games West Islip’s defense has been rock solid allowing only 40 goals.
But Monday, the boys lacrosse team’s D took several hits as Bay Shore’s strong offensive attack found the back of the cage 11 times against a Lions squad that had not allowed more than seven goals in a game this season.
Fortunately for West Islip, the offense led by Tom Moore’s six goals was able to outscore the Marauders by three and secure a 14-11 win.
“We’re mentally tired, but we were also not communicating,” said Anthony Santo, defenseman and team captain. “We did not stop the guys we needed to stop.”
Head coach Scott Craig also mentioned fatigue was a factor for his team. Including the Bay Shore game West Islip played four games over a seven-day period. But he also gave the Marauders their due.
“They played very well and shot the ball very well,” he said. “Our lack of energy gave them opportunities and to their credit they took advantage.”
Monday’s game at West Islip High School was a back-and-forth affair with the teams exchanging leads throughout the contest. The Lions ended the first quarter up 4-3 and would outscore Bay Shore 6-3 in the second to take a 9-7 lead to the half.
During halftime Craig encouraged his team to find some “emotional energy” to start the second half in an effort to take control of the game. But it would be Bay Shore that would burst out of the gate, scoring four straight goals to take an 11-9 lead into the fourth quarter.
In fact, West Islip was held scoreless in the third; only the second time the team had been blanked in a quarter this season.
The “emotional energy” sought by the head coach would come in the fourth. Anthony DeLuca, off a sharp feed from Nick Aponte, would cut Bay Shore’s lead to 11-10 and end a 15-minute scoring drought for the Lions.
Ninety seconds later it was Jon Reese’s turn and the hero of the would tie the score at 11, a goal that energized the West Islip sideline and shifted momentum. Goals by Moore, Nick Aponte and Ryan Wieczorek would round out the scoring and give the Lions a three goal win.
“It was one of those days when you have to find a way to survive and we found a way,” Craig said. “Our kids showed a lot of character in the fourth quarter.”